There’s no doubt that the emerging situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) has been stressful for many of us. It’s perfectly normal to feel fear, anxiety and a loss of control. The current recommendations for social distancing and isolation may also be contributing to feelings of sadness and even depression.
We can control our response to our situations even though we can’t control the world around us. The positive way to deal with the difficult emotions that are surfacing right now is to practice good self-care. There is a lot more to self-care than what we normally think of as treating ourselves to a hot bath or a massage.
The Hosparus Health Grief Counseling Center promotes self-care as part of our services as it is any action we take to deliberately care for our mental, emotional and physical health. We learn to let go of the things we cannot control and be gentle with ourselves when we take the time to focus on the present.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t make you selfish. Rather, you’ll be better prepared to face new challenges as they arise when you develop self-care strategies to cope with everyday difficulties. These strategies enable a good relationship with yourself and with others.
Here are some simple ways you can take care of yourself now and in the future.
- Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to the news, including social media. Hearing bad news over and over can be upsetting and add to your anxiety.
- Mental and physical health are connected, so take care of your body as much as possible. Eat a balanced diet, stretch or do light exercise. Take deep breaths, do yoga or meditate. Get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol.
- Connect with others through phone or video chat. Talk with people you trust how you are feeling.
- Go outside and enjoy the beginnings of spring. Take a walk and smell the flowers. Eat a meal or drink tea outside.
- Try something you never had time to do before. Learn a new language or take an online course.
- Clean out a closet or declutter your space.
- Play a game, do a puzzle or read a book.
Practicing positive self-care strategies doesn’t mean that you will never feel stressed or anxious. It’s OK to not feel OK. The skills you learn for self-care will be helpful even after the difficult times are over. The practice will prepare you for ‘game time’ situations.
You will get through this. While we can’t all be with our loved ones right now, please know we’re all in this together.